Attention allows the brain to effectively sift through the vast quantities of sensory and cognitive information it continuously receives and can be considered to optimise cognitive processing. Attention can be divided into three anatomical networks: alerting, orienting and executive. Each of these represents a distinct process, and they work independently but also interact.
Attentional fluctuations are one of the cardinal features of Dementia with Lewy bodies and also feature prominently in Parkinson’s disease. Current medical treatments for memory and thinking problems in dementia are in the form of attention boosters. Interestingly it is not known whether caffeine, the most widely taken stimulant, ingested by 90% of adults on a daily basis, has any direct, beneficial effect in Parkinson’s disease or dementia. In this study we examine whether caffeine improves specific subtypes of attention in patients with Dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson’s disease and healthy individuals.
How does the trial work?
We will randomly allocate you either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee and then ask you to complete computerised tests of attention and a 20 metre timed walk. You would need to be able to attend 4 times over a 9 day period and will have to stop drinking tea/coffee for 1 week (we will give you a supply of decaffeinated tea/coffee to drink instead!).
We are recruiting 3 groups for this study:
- people with Dementia with Lewy bodies
- people with Parkinson's Disease
- healthy older adults (without any other neurological conditions).
If you wish to take part in the study, please contact us.